Why We Drink or Avoid Inauguration Day (for supporters & non-supporters of Trump)

17-inauguration-preparations-w529-h352Regardless of who you voted for in the election, Inauguration Day can be a stressful time that we aren’t usually prepared for because it only comes once every four years. When we are stressed are vital signs increase, sometimes to dangerous levels. How are you preparing to cope with the stress of an administration shift? How are you calming your nerves with the uncertainty of how others will respond to the new faces in the White House?

After conducting an informal survey (just me basically asking, “Hey how are you coping with this Inauguration thing?”) of Duke students on campus, Durham parents, random people walking down the road, and my family members, many of the responses were the same:

  • drinking to either celebrate or forget
  • purposely not watching it because of anxiety (Trump & Hilary supporters)
  • huh? (and walked away or if I knew them, changed the subject).

Though as unprofessional and unreliable as this “questionnaire” was, it got me thinking about why we drink during this event or avoid it all together. And maybe those who had no idea what I was talking about are living in ignorant bliss (or maybe I creeped them out). Because you can be for Trump and still anxious about how the process will turn out or how the non-supports will respond, just as much as being anxious out of fear for the country or how Trump supporters may respond.

Why do we drink to celebrate or forget?

We drink alcohol during events that make us nervous to calm down our nerves or to tranquilize the chaos going on in our heads because of the anxiety, fear, or uncertainty because it is a depressant. Alcohol slows your heart rate, which in return slows respirations and depresses your blood pressure. This gives you the “relaxation”, but can be dangerous because you could “relax” yourself unconscious.

Drinking alcohol is also something we do to enjoy ourselves. But if alcohol is a depressant, why can it be fun and make people happy? Research shows that drinking alcohol releases the same chemicals in the brain as when you laugh at a joke or run on the treadmill. Your body releases endorphins, for example, when we laugh or exercise. These chemicals in our brain make us feel pleasure, and pleasure makes us happy. Alcohol triggers the same release of beta-endorphins, which are produced in the pituitary gland that is meant to suppress pain (another reason you may drink when you are sad).

Why we avoid events that make us anxious?

Whether you are for or against the inauguration of Trump, you might be avoiding watching, listening, or reading about the event because of your nerves. Avoiding situations that make us anxious is a natural human response, but unfortunately, it is what keeps us stuck in this state of anxiety. But it’s easier to avoid, right? It’s the “path of least resistance.” So we practice avoidance instead of challenging it head on, but mental health professionals will caution you to be mindful and start being proactive slowly. But the nurse in me believes that if you are triggered by the inauguration, don’t watch it. Don’t talk about it with anyone but a professional because I don’t want anyone in the ER tonight.

me headshotHolls Thomas is the founder of Operation No Shame. With a B.A. in Journalism and M.A. in Political Science from Eastern Illinois University, she is currently a nursing student at Duke University. She has a background in advocating and case management for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Her research focus at Duke is creative arts therapy.

Disclaimer: Operation No Shame’s goal is to be an online hub for self-help resources, education, awareness, and support. Individuals are encouraged to seek local mental health professionals for additional assistance. Operation No Shame in no way takes the place of a licensed art therapist, counselors of any sort, or medical providers. Although Operation No Shame may not be a mandated reporter, any abuse allegations will be reported appropriately to DCFS or Adult Protected Services. The National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255. There is no shame in reaching out for help. There is no shame in needing to talk about it.

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Mindfulness Definition for our Wellbeing

To be mindful, is to be aware of something. Mindfulness is the quality of the mental state of awareness one reaches. There are various definitions of the term that dive deep in all that mindfulness encompasses, but Operation No Shame concentrates on the therapeutic technique of what it can bring to your life. After much research on the subject, we contrived a long and short definition of our own.

Mindfulness

  1. An evidence-based way of living that cultivates positive benefits for our health and happiness by being purposely present in the moment.

  2. The lifestyle of living in the moment for the moment with no judgements.

Let’s break it down by key terms and phrases for further understanding.

Definition #1

  • Evidence-based: Science has proven the technique works
  • Way of living: more than a practice, but how we live every day
  • Cultivates positive benefits: therapeutic
  • Health and happiness: wellbeing
  • Being purposely present: consciously directing our awareness
  • In the moment: in present time (NOW!)

Definition #2

  • Lifestyle: the habits and attitudes that establishes the mode of living of an individual
  • Living in the moment: being deliberately aware of where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing right then and there (mind not wandering to the past or future)
  • For the moment: embracing the sensations of living in the moment
  • No judgements: observing the moment without judging the experience as good or bad; we can acknowledge if the experience is pleasant or unpleasant, but letting go of the judgments that accompany that acknowledgment

So what’s the difference between mindfulness and awareness? Purposefulness.

We need to be able to direct our awareness for purpose to achieve a mindful state. In order to be mindful, we need to let go of the past which no longer exists. That moment is over. You cannot physically live in the past. You can only experience the present moment because the future is just a fantasy.

Operation No Shame will be providing therapeutic techniques to help guide your mindfulness. Check back soon for these practices!

me headshotHolls Thomas is the founder of Operation No Shame. With a B.A. in Journalism and M.A. in Political Science from Eastern Illinois University, she is currently a nursing student at Duke University. She has a background in advocating and case management for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Her research focus at Duke is creative arts therapy.

 

Disclaimer: Operation No Shame’s goal is to be an online hub for self-help resources, education, awareness, and support. Individuals are encouraged to seek local mental health professionals for additional assistance. Operation No Shame in no way takes the place of a licensed art therapist, counselors of any sort, or medical providers. Although Operation No Shame may not be a mandated reporter, any abuse allegations will be reported appropriately to DCFS or Adult Protected Services. The National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255. There is no shame in reaching out for help. There is no shame in needing to talk about it.

Welcome to Operation No Shame

I decided to start Operation No Shame two years ago when I worked as case manager for a sexual assault & domestic violence organization. The tagline was “No one deserves rape” and then expanded to “No one deserves abuse, bullying, and sexual assault.” The blog for it came about because I was RESTLESS on the subject of abuse and shame. I felt this undeniable need to start something for myself and others, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Now that I am studying at Duke University, I have had the faculty support and opportunity to hone in on my vision for Operation No Shame working on it as an Independent Study alongside my art and music research. This website is still a work in progress, but there is a clear vision for it.

For those of us who spend too much time or not enough in our room alone. Raise your voice through art.

Music, photography, writing, and essentially all styles of art reflect self-expression resulting in productive alone time and creative self-care. Operation No Shame defines creative self-care as an integrative approach to one’s wellness. It is not a diagnostic tool or replacement for counseling, therapy, medical, or other holistic approaches – but a supplement to enhancing one’s health.

No one deserves abuse. No one should have to overcome shame, a popular aftermath of abuse, by themselves. Anxiety, body image angst, depression, loneliness, and feelings of low self-worth accompany shame. Operation No Shame provides an online hub of creative self-care activities and educational materials for those of us who need to learn how to productively cope with our pasts that haunt us or the stress of everyday life.

Our blog will feature posts on holistic care, all aspects of creative arts therapy (CAT), and FREE downloadable CAT activities.

Warmly, Holls

me headshot

Holls Thomas is the founder of Operation No Shame. With a B.A. in Journalism and M.A. in Political Science from Eastern Illinois University, she is currently a nursing student at Duke University. She has a background in advocating and case management for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Her research focus at Duke is creative arts therapy.

 

Disclaimer: Operation No Shame’s goal is to be an online hub for self-help resources, education, awareness, and support. Individuals are encouraged to seek local mental health professionals for additional assistance. Operation No Shame in no way takes the place of a licensed art therapist, counselors of any sort, or medical providers. Although Operation No Shame may not be a mandated reporter, any abuse allegations will be reported appropriately to DCFS or Adult Protected Services. The National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255. There is no shame in reaching out for help. There is no shame in needing to talk about it.